Blair Garrett

Each October, some of our nation’s bravest heroes are honored in Emmitsburg, a.k.a. Firetown, USA.

The Fallen Firefighters Memorial Service gives thanks to firefighters who are no longer with us, who have served our communities, protecting citizens in their time of need.

In a town heralded for its dedication and history in fire prevention and safety, Emmitsburg is a special home for the memorial ceremony, which honored 103 firefighters on its 37th Annual Memorial Weekend October 5-7, 2018.

The service commenced amidst bagpipes sounding off and the hushed crowd filing into the seats, as Chief Dennis Compton, chairman of the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation, offered confirming words of security to families in attendance who have lost loved ones in the line of duty.

“The men and women we are honoring today are not heroes because they died; they became heroes to the people in their communities the day they signed up to be a firefighter.”

The impact firefighters who have given their lives over the years is felt not only in the tight-knit community of Emmitsburg, but around the nation. Major landmarks across the country participated in “Light Up the Night,” shining fire engine red lights on buildings like the World Trade Center in New York and LAX in Los Angeles in support of fallen heroes. Over 150 fire departments nationwide participated as well, in honor of those who came before them.

Throughout the weekend, families of the fallen gathered for the candlelight service and a vigil in honor of the men and women who passed in 2017 and years prior. Participants came together to hold moments of silence and remembrance for members of one of our country’s bravest professions.

The Memorial Service caps off the special weekend, bringing thousands of people from across the country together to stand by the families of the fallen and to show respect for each firefighter gone too soon.

The two-day event is a constant reminder to the proud citizens of Emmitsburg to never take a day for granted and to be thankful that should an emergency strike, we always have men and women in uniform ready to help at a moment’s notice.

“We are again reminded today through the actions of those fallen, when someone calls for help, they can be assured of one thing,” Chief Keith Bryant said,“firefighters will come, regardless of the dangers.”

The importance of the Fallen Firefighters Memorial Weekend to Emmitsburg cannot be overlooked or understated. For a town intertwined with firefighting, the service is a chance for the community to recognize the safety and security the nation’s firefighters have given us over the years. And there may be no town in the world more appreciative than Emmitsburg.

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